Copyright 2015; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. File photo of Tenicia Spence by Frank Stallworth.
BOWIE, Md. - - A six minute period in the second quarter turned the tide for the Wilmington University women's basketball team as it defeated Bowie State, 69-66, in nonconference action in the AC Jordan Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Although the Wildcats (6-4) needed to retake the lead late in the fourth quarter to seal the victory, it was a 15-0 run in the second quarter that allowed the Wildcats to get back into the game.
Bowie State (7-3) trailed by five points in the opening moments of the fourth quarter and mounted a comeback to take a 60-59 lead with 4:23 left in regulation. Zameria Jones made a jumper with 3:37 showing on the clock, giving the Wildcats the lead for good before holding off the Bulldogs down the stretch.
But the ending wouldn't have happened without the six-minute span in the second quarter, allowing the Wildcats to turn a five-point deficit into a nine-point lead. The Bulldogs took their 17-14 into the second quarter and built as large as a 22-16 advantage with 9:11 left in the half.
Wilmington's Tenicia Spence started a 15-0 run for the visitors, hitting a three-point shot to spark the Wildcats. Jones converted a steal into a made jumper with 5:29 to give the Wildcats a 24-22 lead before Katara Pressley put back an offensive rebound for the 26-22 lead. Pressley than came up with a steal and Shanique Graves laid one home for the 28-22 lead, forcing Bowie State into a 30 second timeout. The final Wilmington bucket came on a deep shot from Spence again, hitting the three-pointer with 3:11 left in the half for the 31-22 lead.
The Bulldogs were able to stem the tide in the final three minutes, cutting the Wildcats' lead to 33-28 heading into the halftime break.
Spence and Lindsay Bradford gave the Wildcats a 37-28 early third quarter lead with back-to-back buckets out of the halftime break. The Bulldogs battled back however, getting a four-point play on a three-pointer and a foul to tie the contest, 43-43, with 4:42 showing on the clock.
A pair of free throws from Bowie State gave the home team the 47-46 lead before the Wildcats closed the third quarter on a 7-2 run to take a 53-49 lead into the fourth quarter.
The lead grew to as large as five-points in the early going of the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs refused to give up, climbing back into the contest. A three-pointer brought Bowie State to within one with 7:42 to play before two from the charity stripe gave the home team a 60-59 lead with 4:23 showing on the clock.
Jones came up with a steal with 3:45 left in regulation but her fastbreak layup was off the mark. Bradford came up with the offensive rebound and dished it back out to Jones to rest the offense. Jones hit her jumper with to give the Wildcats a 61-60 lead with 3:37 left. It would be a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
The Bulldogs had a chance to tie the game at the free throw line with 11 seconds left, but was only able to make the first of two, cutting the deficit to 67-66. Spence iced the game with a pair from the line, giving the Wildcats the 69-66 victory.
Spence led the Wildcats with 21 points, shooting 7-of-15 from the floor while adding 5-of-6 from the foul line. Jones scored 18 points off the bench, adding six rebounds and five steals in 26 minutes. Jordan Hawkins scored 11 points and grabbed a game high 13 rebounds for the double-double, including six on the offensive glass.
The Wildcats begin a five-game home stand with their next contest, as they remain outside the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference on Monday with a nonconference contest against Cheyney. The opening tip is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at the WU Athletics Complex.